A dance party for cold and flu season (pre-pandemic edition)
This party started out as a dance party for cold and flu season. The idea was, why not teach kids about germs and the importance of Vitamin C, while dancing to some good music? Get it? The word “boogie” can go either way.
It went down in history as either prescient or terribly insensitive. You see, the party took place on a Sunday in early March 2020. Later that week, the U.S. would begin discussions of shutdowns and school closings—due to what had become a global pandemic.
Nonetheless, it was a great party! This was a class party for three- to six-year-old children, with parents and kids invited. We rolled up the rug, pushed the furniture to the walls, and turned up the volume. Here’s the party run-down, with some party-pro tips.
Tips for Designing a Party that Kids & Adults Will Love
1. Start with a fun invitation
We set the tone for the event with some fun and irreverent invitations. Hand-made invitations send a message that the guests are in for a special event.
This was a house party, and we pushed the furniture to the sides of the room to make space for dancing. The “let’s boogie” banner reminded you to get up and shake it!
Disco ball headbands and decorations added to the fun.
On the table, we added sparkle with a silver sequin tablecloth, disco balls, and fresh baby’s breath. Most of the serving pieces were white or silver.
3. Feed them well
The menu was a mix of party foods for the big and small kids. We included some healthy treats, and many of the dishes were packed with Vitamin C—with orange and lemon featured prominently in a few dishes.
- Frankies, a warm wrap with curried potato, roasted cauliflower and chick peas, a minty chutney (really great party recipe from Feasting at Home)
- Cavatappi with artichoke and lemon
- Mini crust-less quiches (muffin tin) with yellow squash, parmesan, and parsley
- Gallo pinto, black beans and rice with Salsa Lizano (great recipe from Blue Osa)
- Spinach salad with mango and blueberries
- Pizza Bianca (great recipe from Serious Eats)
- Pigs in a blanket (store bought!)
The sweet treats:
- Berries and a bowl of oranges – fruit works well for any party, but it is especially good at a kids’ party, because inevitably it will be the only thing some kids want to try
- Clementine cupcakes
- ‘Disco Ball’ popcorn (popcorn with silver sprinkles, a dash of salt, and white chocolate drizzle—so good!)
4. Plan some activities
We knew the kids would need to take a break from dancing, so we set up a self-directed (very quick) doctor’s craft activity, to make a stethoscope. The felt hearts were pre-attached to fuzzy pipe cleaners, so the children had to twist the wire onto the headband.
We set out coloring supplies and taped a “body” to the floor, where a few kids could color at once.
In another room, we had a quiet reading station with books focused on sickness, health, and the body. Designating a quiet room at a party, especially a noisy dance party, can allow for respite.
We also set up a doctor’s office, equipped with doctor’s bags, doctor’s dress-up clothes, puzzles of the human body, and other educational toys. This was a great space for parents and kids to sit and talk, while the dancing continued in the other room.
5. A take-away treat is always a good idea, and a way to keep the memories going after the party is over
The party favors carried on the playful theme. Each child received slime labeled as “mucus,” a pack of Boogie Wipes, and a nose-shaped pencil sharpener. (Full circle to the big nose on the invites.)
6. Always hire professionals
But perhaps the real reason for the success of the party…was the professional DJ.